Morality, Truth, and God
a play by Marc Heiden and Rory Leahy
The Chorus three people dressed in white robes. they emotionlessly intone their lines in unison, shuffling on and offstage whenever narration is called for.
Chief Moderate Bear the world-weary leader of a Native American tribe
Braves #1 and #2 a pair of cynical Native American warriors
Lord Thistlewick a devious officer of the British army
Minutemen #1 and #2 a pair of belligerent American militiamen
Fyodor the dynamic, charismatic leader of the Comrades of Freedom
Ivan the troubled younger brother of Fyodor
Aloysha a quiet but wise revolutionary
Dmitri an angry young revolutionary
Raskolnikov the intelligence expert of the Comrades
General Stavrogin a ruthless fascist dictator
David Freeman a smarmy American businessman
Guards and Civilians
Charlton Heston an American icon
Lucy Lascivious a tabloid television reporter
Steve a television cameraman
Bill Dobler head of a right-wing paramilitary publishing company
Mikey, Tommy, and Samantha three perky nine year-old children of wealthy parents
Voice announcer for the WRCT news team
Marilyn Spencer (voice) a powerful-voiced pop diva in her early fifties
Lieutenant Brickowski (voice) a dim-witted negotiator
(the CHORUS shuffles onstage)
CHORUS: It is, as ever, all times at once.
The order matters little; the blood remains the same.
A certain sense comes of it regardless of form,
and in every form there is a certain senselessness.
We present for you now a time and another:
the first, Upstate New York in 1776,
and the second, a former Soviet republic two hundred and twenty years later.
(the CHORUS shuffles to the side of the stage. in 1776, two BRAVES stand around preparing for battle while their leader CHIEF MODERATE BEAR confers with a British officer, LORD THISTLEWICK)
BRAVE #2: I know how this is going to turn out. I've seen this happen a hundred times before.
BRAVE #1: Have you now?
BRAVE #2: There's only one way that encounters like this end. Same way, every time.
BRAVE #1: Why'd the British guy come alone, anyway?
BRAVE #2: Eh, covert operations or something. Low numbers, low visibility, or so goes the cutting-edge military theory. Didn't want to be spotted by a pack of wild roving colonists. Anyway, I'm telling you...
BRAVE #1: Quiet. They're talking.
LORD THISTLEWICK: So what I'm saying, Chief Moderate Bear, is that an alliance between the British army and your tribe would be of great mutual benefit for both sides.
CHIEF MODERATE BEAR: There has been many a time that my people have been deceived by yours. Tell me, Lord Thistlewick, why should I expect anything different to occur now?
LORD: Chief old man, we have a common enemy now. Let's face it, the Yankees have treated you pretty poorly since they've arrived, haven't they?
CHIEF: And you intend to behave differently?
(the stage goes dark and the 1776 characters slip off.
four men stand in silhouette; a booming voice is heard)
VOICE: The issue at hand is loyalty.
(the lights go up, revealing the owner of the voice, FYODOR, who addresses his four comrades IVAN, DMITRI, ALYOSHA and RASKOLNIKOV)
FYODOR: Loyalty to an idea: the idea that we are born free men, and that our freedom is worth fighting for! It is that idea that has kept the Republic of Wackazania alive through centuries of turmoil and oppression. When the Turks came five hundred years ago, our people drove them back. When the Germans tried to slaughter us, our grandfathers died fighting against them. And then when the Russian dogs came to destroy our country and make us part of their "Soviet Union", still we fought until the glorious day when we won our independence. Did the battle end there? No. The struggle to determine the course of our lives is an eternal one. And now, after all those eons of struggle, this General Stavrogin would rule us unjustly and criminally! He starves our people even as he presides over a bureaucracy of greed and corruption, and his secret police murder anyone who would advocate change! Freedom demands from on high, with the voices of our noble ancestors, that we fight back. And truly there can be no god worthier of our allegiance than Freedom. They demand that we give over our minds, our bodies and our souls to their corrupt empire! And for our refusal, for our allegiance to Freedom, they call us terrorists! They dare to call us murderers! Many of our fellows have already died for this fight. We can ask of ourselves no less! As it has been written, the only way to wipe away centuries of darkness is with blood. The blood of those whose love for Freedom outstrips all else. If we hesitate now, we betray not only our people but ourselves. Our people, and all people who cherish freedom depend on what we do these next few days. If we are to free this nation from tyranny forever, we must be bold, and we must be ruthless. We may lose our lives but we will gain our very souls. (he takes a meaningful pause, then looks intently at his troops) Are you prepared to do your sacred duty, Aloysha?
ALOYSHA: Yes sir, Commander!
FYODOR: And you Raskolnikov?
RASKOLNIKOV: Yes sir, Commander!
DMITRI: Yes sir, Commander!
FYODOR: And you, Ivan?
IVAN: (hesitant) er
Yes sir, Commander!
(the stage goes dark; 1776 characters return)
LORD: (condescending) If you say yes and join up with us, you can have Manhattan Island back. Remember, the little piece of real estate you sold for twenty-four dollars?
CHIEF: You are rather quick to mock the naiveté of my people instead of the cruelty and greed of your own, both of which are much more deserving of the condemnation of a rational mind. Besides, your people have had more than their fair share of stupid moments.
LORD: Hey, hey, there, no need to get stroppy, old boy...
CHIEF: Or do you still cling to the belief that the sun revolves around the earth? Do you still burn little girls at the stake for blasphemy, while old women try to cure the sick with severed fingers?
LORD: (sullen) That was different. I had nothing to do with any of that. Those were other people.
CHIEF: And there were "circumstances" surrounding the sale of the island of Manhattan, namely the crass treachery of the white men who seized it and gave my people no choice in the transaction. And neither I nor any of my tribe were even alive at that time, so please do us the kindness of seeing us for what we are now rather than what our distant cousins were forced to be more than a century ago.
LORD: Fine, fine. Let us not allow the memory of those colonial devils drive a spike between us, Chief. Our interests clearly coincide here. We want the colonists to remain a part of our empire, and you want them off your backs. If we defeat them in battle, we can both win out!
CHIEF: Since I assume that you do not plan on de-populating this land, exactly how will the colonists be removed from our backs?
LORD: Um, you'll be made colonists too. With the full, or at the very least partial, rights of Englishmen. There are many benefits to being colonists of the British Empire. Ask any of the people we've admitted. Why, we've brought all the benefits of Christian civilization to them, and they get to be part of the most glorious society on the face of the earth!
CHIEF: Then why are the Yankees rebelling against you?
LORD: Because they just don't know a good thing when they see it, that's why! If I were one of them, I would feel honored to have the Union Jack flying over my home and hearth. They just don't know the mistake that they're making, that's all. See, over here in the colonies, they just don't have the benefit of a proper British education. They'd agree if they were a bit more intelligent.
(1776 characters leave; 1996 returns)
FYODOR: Excellent. Then all are agreed. Tomorrow is the day we strike the final blow for Freedom! Stavrogin will lead his bastardized parade through the streets of the capital city to impress the capitalist pig businessman who is visiting from America. Stavrogin will be completely out in the open and unprotected.
ALOYSHA: Unless of course you wanted to nitpick and count the most elite soldiers in the entire army as protection.
FYODOR: The presence of his attack dogs notwithstanding, there will never be a better time! Don't you see? It's tomorrow or never! In one bold, glorious strike, we will cast off the shackles of his evil and restore justice to this republic! The plan must be set in motion with precision and deadly accuracy. Aloysha, Dmitri and I will dress in peasant garb tomorrow but we'll be heavily armed and ready to strike as soon as Ivan fires the bullet that fells that brutal tyrant.
FYODOR: Of course you, my brother. You're the best sniper in the unit! Who else would fire the most important shot of the war? Raskolnikov will assist you with the artillery. You are up to it?
IVAN: Of course, Commander. I am ever at the service of the cause.
DMITRI: Fyodor, may I suggest a recess? We are tired and hungry.
very well. We will convene back here sharply in one hour.
(1776 returns; 1996 leaves)
CHIEF: (considering) I remain unconvinced.
LORD: (growing irritated) Let me put it to you this way, my aboriginal friend. If you listen to the voice of friendship and truth, you will join us quietly and voluntarily. But should you listen to the bad birds that are always flying about you, and refuse to cooperate, I have then directed the commanding office to remove you by force.
CHIEF: Ah, yes, the familiar sound of what lies behind all of the white man's promises. I grow weary of being a pawn in your endless squabbles with each other, but your civilization seems to dictate that however absurd the conflict, it may be ignored by none. Your civilization is a savage thing indeed. But in the interests of the safety of my tribe, I am willing to consider helping you.
LORD: Well that's just smashing!
(the two BRAVES begin to talk to each other)
BRAVE #1: The Chief seems to be listening to what the Brit has to say. What do you think it means?
BRAVE #2: It means that a great new future is on the horizon for us, that there is a new dawn rising, that the sun is smiling, that the rain twinkles with joy, that...
BRAVE #1: What?
BRAVE #2: It means that instead of being screwed by the local white men, we're going to be screwed by some visiting white men.
BRAVE #1: That's what I figured.
(1776 leaves. in 1996, IVAN tarries, leaving him onstage with FYODOR)
FYODOR: Is there something wrong, Ivan?
IVAN: Nothing, it is just
I am not certain that killing Stavrogin tomorrow is the most prudent course of action. For one thing, they will be expecting something.
FYODOR: Of course they will. But we have no choice. We may die in the act, but we will triumph for we have the superior strength of spirit. And Freedom itself is on our side.
FYODOR: Ivan, you are my younger brother. But you are also second in command of this unit, and nepotism has nothing to do with that. I don't care what they say. You have the ability, and thus you have the responsibility to help me plan our course of action.
IVAN: I know, Fyodor. And I must speak my mind. For four years we've fought this war. Running and hiding. Striking when we can, then running and hiding some more. It has resulted only in death. Sometimes for us, sometimes for them, always for women and children eternally caught in the middle. Look around us, Fyodor. Five men! This is our "unit". The band that will bring down a despot? It seems unlikely. This plan you propose is nothing more than a suicide mission, born of desperation.
FYODOR: So you would have us give up, is that it, brother? Lay down our arms and let Stavrogin and his murderers declare victory?
IVAN: I didn't say that
FYODOR: Then what are you saying?
IVAN: I don't know what I'm saying. I'm only raising the question that perhaps our methods may not be getting the results that we intend. I've become so tired of the killing.
FYODOR: How dare you question the sacred precepts of Freedom itself? Have you forgotten what Stavrogin has done to this country? Our mother starved to death because of him! And how many others? Stavrogin and his thugs do not deserve your compassion. One death will hardly be sufficient punishment for their crimes!
IVAN: I'm not defending Stavrogin!
FYODOR: You can't have it both ways, brother! Either you're with him or you're with us!
IVAN: I'm with you, brother! I've always been with you! How could you think otherwise?
FYODOR: Because of what I hear you say! There can be no compromise, Ivan! There is good or evil, freedom or despotism, the people or the tyrant!
IVAN: Sacrificing as many of our people's lives as possible helps them, not us!
FYODOR: Think of the larger picture, Ivan!
IVAN: Is that what our father did? Think of the larger picture?
FYODOR: NEVER speak ill of our father! You barely knew him! But I knew him for the hero and patriot that he was!
IVAN: I wasn't speaking ill of him, Fyodor. I have grown up revering his memory. But he did not ask for his fate as you seem to be right now.
FYODOR: He knew as I do that the only way to wash away blood is with more blood.
IVAN: Statements like that do little other than illustrate why you work in the revolutionary rather than the cleaning industry.
FYODOR: Ivan. It is not that I don't share your pain. I have never taken pleasure in violence, only in doing what is right, which has occasionally required violence. Brother, you see us as two men, living in one place at one time. But we are both more and less than that. We are a part of history, a history which has incorporated the lives of all who have come before us and all who will come after. We have a debt to history that we must pay. Do you not hear the voices of all those who have died, all begging you not to forget their legacy, demanding that you make their deaths count for something, with your own death if need be? Progress is the forward march that lasts until the end of time. You must take your place in the procession or you must stand aside.
IVAN: You're right of course. I...I need some air.
(1996 leaves, 1776 returns)
CHIEF: Tell me, then, with none of your sugar-coating, what it is that you demand of us.
LORD: (chuckles) Complete and total servitude, old boy!
CHIEF: Why is it that I have never been able to appreciate a white politician's sense of humor?
LORD: Easy there, Chief. You types are always so sensitive. That's why your kind never gets anywhere, if you'll pardon my observation. Can't take a barb from an old friend like me, how're you going to survive in the harsh competitive world of the West Indies spice trade?
CHIEF: Your wisdom is duly noted. Go on with your plan.
LORD: Well, it's simple. Those bloody colonials always seem to know what we're going to do before we do it. We land on these shores and have to spend all our time and effort setting up our forces. Meanwhile, since they know the land in and out, they're free to circle around us and set up traps before we've had time to get a sense of the place. Damned unsportsmanlike, wouldn't you say?
CHIEF: Yes, how very...unsporting the entire process is.
LORD: So we need you Indians to scout things out for us, let us know where the colonials are going to set up, and drop in on them every once in awhile. Attack them as they're setting up a new outpost, perhaps even back us up in our maneuvers. If the colonials spring a surprise upon us, we'll have one for them: all of you, whooping it up and mohawking your hearts out.
CHIEF: And if we choose not to cooperate, you will of course have to kill us in fear that we will spread word of your plan.
LORD: Well I suppose you could phrase it that way but I would prefer to think of it more along the lines of...
CHIEF: Enough. I look into the future and I see the end of my people's way of life. This is inevitable. I desire to do all that I can to buy my people a few hours more. We will do as you say, but cease the pandering, damn you. Cease the platitudes. That is my only term.
LORD: (after a pause) Where did you learn to speak so well, Chief? I thought you Indians weren't a terribly bright lot.
CHIEF: Tell me, Lord Thistlewick, in the course of the formation of your perceptions of us, how many of my people did you actually meet?
LORD: Well, I'm new in these parts to tell you the King's honest truth...
CHIEF: Your chaotically-designed language was simple to learn once I forced myself to understand the way your minds work, which was no small sacrifice. I am quite familiar with your culture's thought, probably moreso than you are. I was named Moderate Bear for my early interest in Aristotelian philosophy.
LORD: I, ah, figured as much.
(1776 leaves. in 1996, IVAN and ALOYSHA are alone onstage)
ALOYSHA: Ivan. Family trouble?
IVAN: No. Well, yes. I don't know. Fyodor and I, we argue, but he is my older brother. When our mother lay on her deathbed, she told him to take care of me and she told me to obey him. So I do. And it is the best thing. Even when we were boys, he always knew what was right when I was not sure. He stepped forward when I stepped back. He possesses a clarity of mind and purpose that I never have.
ALOYSHA: Do you envy him for this?
IVAN: Of course. But it is more than that this time. I think I'm right to question what we are doing.
ALOYSHA: Killing Stavrogin?
IVAN: Killing anyone. Years of bloodshed have made me sick in my stomach and in my mind, Aloysha. I keep telling myself that it is all for the greater good, but the smaller evil is so much more apparent to me.
ALOYSHA: I have come to learn in my short life that the blood of good people will be shed no matter what I do. The only question is whether the blood of the evil will be shed as well. And I say it might as well be.
IVAN: So it is base revenge, nothing more? We are bound to die so want to take as many of them with us as possible?
ALOYSHA: Basically, yes. We all knew when we first took up arms that most of our victories would be more symbol than substance.
IVAN: Fyodor lives in a world of symbolic victories!
ALOYSHA: Your sibling rivalry may blind you to the fact that Fyodor has led this unit well. The fact that we are all still alive proves that.
IVAN: But could he lead this nation if it came to that, or do you think he would have too much of the killer in him?
ALOYSHA: He would be better than Stavrogin, I'm sure.
IVAN: We have made as many widows and orphans as Stavrogin has. I wonder if there is any true difference between a revolutionary and a tyrant.
ALOYSHA: The difference between a revolutionary and a tyrant is that the revolutionary usually has more fun. But must also do more work. All the tyrant has to do is say "Bring him to me!" but we have to do the work of actually finding our victims.
You're joking aren't you?
ALOYSHA: (smiles) I think so.
IVAN: It is good you can do that. I don't think I can. Your perspective is unique, my friend. Sometimes it seems you agree a bit with Fyodor and a bit with me, and that you know more than either of us.
ALOYSHA: If I seem to know a lot, it is only because I don't really say anything.
IVAN: We have all sacrificed so much. Families, careers, everything but the cause. I feel no happiness and neither do any of us, but you, you at least have a kind of peace.
ALOYSHA: Peace lies in acceptance of the world as it is, no matter how horrible. But acceptance does not mean surrender.
IVAN: I will remember those words. We must get back to the war room.
ALOYSHA: One thing I do know my friend is that your mind must be clear tomorrow if you are to fight with us. If you back out now, because your conscience tells you to, I will not think the less of you.
IVAN: I will do my duty, Aloysha.
(the two men return to the war room, where the other three wait)
FYODOR: Is all well?
IVAN: All is well, Commander.
FYODOR: Excellent. Then tomorrow, the Comrades Of Freedom shall strike. For the People!
ALL: For the People!
(1996 leaves, 1776 returns)
CHIEF: We will now begin the ancient treaty ritual of my people.
LORD: Oh, we're going to be smoking the old peace pipe then?
CHIEF: Peace pipe? What lame tourist pamphlets have you been reading, limey? Our alliance rituals involve cutting off the right hand of the person we're to be allied with!
LORD: Cutting off the hand?
CHIEF: That's right, and then you have to sign the document with your own blood!
CHIEF: After that of course, comes the beating. Every man, woman and child in our tribe will thrash you with a sharp pronged, sewage encrusted bamboo stick! This symbolizes that your eternal spirit is a member of our spiritual family who wandered astray, and we are returning you to the fold and righting your way.
BRAVE #1: He's really letting the poor sap have it.
BRAVE #2: Do you think we should break it up?
BRAVE #1: No, the Chief hasn't had this much fun in years.
CHIEF: Then we will tear your tongue out and place it on the front of our Medicine Man's teepee as a sign to ward off evil spirits!
LORD: (uncomfortable) Oh...erm...er, that is, I see...you know, Chief old man, I certainly respect the...beauty of your customs and rituals, but there are battles that must be fought sometime soon, for our mutual benefit you understand, and I'm wondering if maybe this idea is just a tad too elaborate. Isn't there perhaps a shorter version
(return to 1996. the next scene depicts GENERAL STAVROGIN's parade through the streets of the capital city. STAVROGIN stands with DAVID FREEMAN, flanked by two GUARDS. FYODOR, ALOYSHA and DMITRI are present, disguised as civilians, followed by several other extras, both CIVILIANS and SOLDIERS. the Fleetwood Mac ballad "Don't Stop" plays in the background. at STAGE RIGHT, a spotlight illuminates IVAN and RASKOLNIKOV, perched on a rooftop, preparing the weaponry intended to kill STAVROGIN. focus shifts back and forth between the conversations of STAVROGIN and FREEMAN and those of the revolutionaries)
STAVROGIN: I trust you have enjoyed your visit to our humble country so far, Mister Freeman.
FREEMAN: Quite a bit, General. I haven't had this good a time since the last time I completed a hostile takeover. I love the rustic feel your people have. Such plain, simple folk.
STAVROGIN: I do my best to encourage them in that direction, Mister Freeman.
IVAN: Who is this American Stavrogin is trying so hard to impress anyway?
RASKOLNIKOV: David Freeman is the head of an international business consortium, which, among other things, manufactures and sells weapons. He will sell to anyone. Armies, rebels, criminals, it makes no difference to him. His only loyalty is to the almighty dollar.
FREEMAN: I hope my company's investments will help your country's economy grow.
STAVROGIN: Hopefully, yes. I would like to see the day when my people eat as well as I. But for now I must eat better than they do because of the sacrifices I make in my position.
FREEMAN: Hey, my net worth isn't even two billion dollars and people think I don't have problems!
STAVROGIN: Before there can be prosperity, there must be order. And those who would stand in the way of order must be removed.
IVAN: The Americans are always talking about their commitment to freedom and yet this one would smile and shake hands with a monster like Stavrogin.
RASKOLNIKOV: It is very easy to profess one thing and do another, Ivan.
IVAN: Yes. Yes it is.
STAVROGIN: The history of Wackazania is a troubled one, Freeman. We have known endless war, famine and unrest. What the people need is a firm hand to guide them and protect them. That hand is mine.
FREEMAN: I don't doubt it, General.
STAVROGIN: The people of this nation are happy with my leadership, regardless of what you may have read in the Western press. It is true.
FREEMAN: Not everyone is so happy with you, General. Otherwise you wouldn't need to do so much business with me.
STAVROGIN: You doubtless refer to the so-called Comrades of Freedom. They are nothing more than a band of cutthroats. They want to make trouble for their own profit. Do you recall the crisis last year when there was a bomb threat at your Super Bowl stadium?
FREEMAN: Of course I do. Good thing that the team employed an unstoppable ex-Marine ninja as a hot dog vendor, otherwise those terrorists might never have been stopped.
STAVROGIN: Well, these terrorists who threaten me are a splinter of that group. Surely as an American you are as revolted by their terrorism as I.
FREEMAN: Of course, your Excellency. In fact I'm revolted by the way they've sullied the very name of freedom. I'm the descendent of a great freedom fighter myself. My forefather Johnny Freeman was one of the greatest heroes of the American Revolution and he kicked the asses of British tyrants clear across the Atlantic. Johnny Freeman would be just as appalled by these terrorist scum as I am.
STAVROGIN: Well, with the help of your weapons, we have succeeded in liquidating most of them.
FREEMAN: You can't imagine how proud I am to know that
(IVAN picks up the rifle and aims it at STAVROGIN's head. 1776 returns.
a small band of MINUTEMEN burst onto the scene, carrying guns)
MINUTEMAN #1: In the name of the free Colony of New York, we of the Christian Minutemen of New York hereby order you disloyal Injuns to disperse!
CHIEF: Why do you bother us?
MINUTEMAN #1: We've heard reports that you have been doing business with the hated British! This is an act of treason against the free Colony of New York as well as the Union of American States or whatever they're going to call it!
CHIEF: (tired voice, turning to speak to his BRAVES) Do any of you see the hated British around here?
BRAVE #2: Uh
Me no see nothing, Chief. (aside to BRAVE #2) Say something stupid like that. Simple phrasing, so the idiots can understand.
BRAVE #1: (raises his palm) Um
MINUTEMAN #2: Aw, boss, there ain't no Tories for miles around, can't we just pick these red devils off anyway? I mean, them bein' devils and all...
MINUTEMAN #1: You're right Bob, it'll give the boys a boost of morale. All right, you Indian scum, prepare to meet your dark god
in Hell! Charge!!!
(an epic battle scene occurs in which the MINUTEMEN slaughter the hopelessly out-weaponed Native Americans. as BRAVE #1 falls, mortally wounded, BRAVE #2 rushes to him)
BRAVE #1: What a miserable end to a miserable life. Given only a glimpse of what must have been a glorious, free past wherein my brethren roamed this land without having to worry about what fool with a gun had laid claim to the grass upon which my people had been standing before he had even been born, let alone seen it...in my time, there has been little for me to do but serve as cannon fodder, used and discarded as if I were a piece of scenery...
BRAVE #2: See, that's exactly the idea that
(before he can reveal his thought, he is struck dead by a MINUTEMAN)
MINUTEMAN #2: You can take your dark ideas back to Hades with you, you murderous savage!
(return to 1996, still in the midst of the parade)
RASKOLNIKOV: He's coming into range now, Ivan.
STAVROGIN: The truth is, concentration camps aren't as bad for a nation's morale as you might think
FREEMAN: You know, I'll have to mention that next time I talk to the mayor.
RASKOLNIKOV: Now, Ivan!
RASKOLNIKOV: Shoot him! Now!
RASKOLNIKOV: Pull the fucking trigger, Ivan!
IVAN: (lowering the rifle) I
(RASKOLNIKOV grabs the rifle and shoots at STAVROGIN himself, aiming for his head but hitting his shoulder instead. STAVROGIN stumbles backwards and his GUARDS shoot at the rooftops. FYODOR lunges towards STAVROGIN with a knife but the GUARDS shoot him in the heart and then pull STAVROGIN and FREEMAN to safety. the CROWD disperses and IVAN runs to his fallen brother's side)
For the People
IVAN: For the People!
DMITRI: Is he dead?
IVAN: Yes. But his dream is not. My brother died because I hesitated, because I betrayed our ideals and I betrayed freedom itself. It will not happen again!
ALOYSHA: Let us go, Ivan, before the army finds us here.
IVAN: We must take his body with us
DMITRI: No! There is no time.
IVAN: The American hypocrite, Freeman. It is his kind who are poisoning our land. It is they who allow the Stavrogins of the world to prosper!
ALOYSHA: I know, but this really isn't the time for elaborating on it, Ivan
RASKOLNIKOV: For God's sake, let's go before the army detains us for questioning!
(FYODOR dies. return to 1776, where at the end of the battle only the MINUTEMEN and LORD THISTLEWICK are left standing. they examine him suspiciously, guns ready)
MINUTEMAN #1: That uniform you're wearin'. It looks like a red coat. You look like a damned English officer!
LORD: (adopting perfect American accent) What, me? You kiddin'? Me? English? Oh, that's a good one. My name's Johnny. Johnny
Freeman. I'm a Minuteman myself. Though these uh, these damned Injuns killed my whole militia. Dressed me up in this getup as some kinda sick joke I guess.
MINUTEMAN #2: Damn savages!
MINUTEMAN #1: You said it. You want to join up with us?
LORD: Why that would be splendid
great, just great!
MINUTEMAN #1: Today is a great day indeed, for today, the Christian Minutemen of New York have won their first real victory! Let's party!
(the MINUTEMEN go off to rejoice. in 1996, the revolutionaries move to a safe position at STAGE LEFT)
ALOYSHA: You are in command now, Ivan.
IVAN: My friends, I have been a hypocrite and my hypocrisy has resulted in the death of my brother. For that I can never be forgiven. From this day forward, I shall dedicate myself to purging this earth of the ultimate hypocrisy. We have attempted to treat the symptoms far too long while the spread of the disease has gone unchecked. The greed and corruption of the powerful holds sway not only in our humble nation but in the whole world over, today more than ever before. Our direction is clear. We must strike at their lair: America!
(the stage goes dark, save a spotlight upon the CHORUS)
CHORUS: There are those who build with history,
and there are more who build on top of history.
For them, the present is a time of waiting,
a time whose meaning springs from fear that the past may emerge.
In that way, a nation is born.
Inevitably the stories of many come together into one,
and each thread demands resolution, its moment of emergence.
For this reason,
we take you to a ceremony in Upstate New York, 1998.
(a CROWD of people stands clustered around a statue of the Revolutionary War hero, Johnny Freeman. among the crowd are the COMRADES OF FREEDOM, again disguised as civilians. downstage, DAVID FREEMAN and CHARLTON HESTON sit atop a platform from which they will address the multitudes; upstage stands LUCY LASCIVIOUS conferring with STEVE, who is pointing his camera at her midsection. She is about to record a story about the ceremony)
LUCY: (angry) I actually was thinking of doing the speaking with my face this time, if that's okay with you.
STEVE: (flustered, raises the camera shakily) What?
LUCY: Steve, I'm well aware of the fact that our adoring viewing public cares a damn sight more about my huge ass tits than they do about my journalistic integrity and frankly so do I, but this is a big fucking story and we do not want to blow it, so get your priorities straight when you point that thing at me!
STEVE: Hey, sure thing babe, but I still don't get the big deal over this one. Looks like a rinky dink photo op to me.
LUCY: Hello! There's an A-list celebrity at this thing and it's no less than our fucking sacred duty to get as many of them on TV as often as possible!
(FREEMAN steps forward to address the crowd)
LUCY: Shit, it's starting. On me, now!
STEVE: Whatever you say!
LUCY: (suggestively) This is Lucy Lascivious for WACT Action News. If it's on fire, bleeding or undergoing any sort of severe trauma, we are there! This afternoon, we're reporting from the Upstate New York Historical Society where important things are being done by an important person.
(LUCY steps aside and allows STEVE to tape the beginning of FREEMAN's speech)
FREEMAN: Good afternoon, everyone. I'm David Freeman, head of Freeman Industries, and it is a great pleasure to host all of you on the behalf of the Upstate New York Historical Society to this event which will honor my great, great, great, great grandfather: (dramatic pause) Johnny Freeman. (polite applause from the CROWD) Johnny Freeman was one of the greatest heroes in American history. He led the patriot militia of the Christian Minutemen of New York through seven long years of the American Revolution. Johnny Freeman stood for many of the best qualities in man, but above all, he stood for truth and bravery. Never there walked a braver man, or a truer man. Surprisingly little is known about his early life, though legend has it he was born in a log cabin in Kentucky, that his father was a minister, that he never told a lie, and that he killed an entire cave full of grizzly bears before he was ten years old. I don't doubt it. It was on this very ground some two hundred and twenty-two years ago that he led the minutemen to victory over a ruthless tribe of pro-British Indians. It is said that he slew thirty of the traitorous natives in that battle alone. After the war, he made a fortune through honesty, hard work, and the publication of his sensational memoirs. We are gathered here today to pay homage to a man whose dedication to liberty made it possible for us to avoid drinking excessive amounts of tea today. (polite chuckles from the CROWD)
DMITRI: This is making me ill.
IVAN: Soon, Dmitri, soon.
FREEMAN: And so without further ado, I introduce you to another great man and another American hero in his own right. Ladies and gentlemen, your friend and mine, Charlton Heston.
(CHARLTON HESTON steps forward to massive applause from the audience)
HESTON: (regally) Thank you, David. Hello. I'm Charlton Heston, and like many of you here today, I am an American. (the CROWD bursts out in riotous cheers) Please, I'm not here to gather your praise, but rather give praise myself to a true American hero and patriot, Johnny Freeman. And not only Johnny, but his great, great, great, great grandson, David as well. As I look admiringly to that glorious statue of Johnny in that morally upright position, I can't help but reflect on the reasons why Johnny was such a great hero. He and his comrades weren't professional soldiers or policemen. They were just ordinary farmers. And when it came time to rebel against the oppressive forces of the British Empire they were able to take up arms, and thank the Good Lord that they were. When governments become corrupt, as they inevitably do, the right to keep and bear arms becomes the people's only defense against them. So don't let anybody tell you that you don't have the right to own a firearm, because without that right, George the Third might still be our ruler today. David Freeman bravely supplies those weapons to those who need them to protect their families and hunt for food or sport. In fact, nearly two percent of my personal arsenal comes from his company. For this great service to its citizens, he is a truly patriotic American. But I can't explain this nearly as well as my three little friends Tommy, Mikey and Samantha can.
(the three children step up onto the platform)
HESTON: As some of you may know, I was once something of a thespian in my time, which is why I now present a skit which will be performed by these three precious children.
(HESTON sits down, allowing the children to perform their skit, TOMMY approaches SAMANTHA with a prop briefcase in hand)
TOMMY: Hello, my loving wife.
SAMANTHA: Hello to you, my strong husband.
TOMMY: I've just come home from a hard day of working to keep our great nation strong and healthy, and I would like some dinner.
SAMANTHA: I have made dinner for you, dearest one.
TOMMY: I can't wait to eat it with you, sweetest one.
(MIKEY bursts into the scene with a toy gun)
MIKEY: Ha ha ha ha! I am an evil criminal, out on the streets because some liberal judge freed me from prison early! And now I'm going to shoot you with my gun and take all your stuff! Ha ha ha ha ha!
SAMANTHA: Husband, that awful, awful man is going to shoot us with his gun and take all our stuff!
TOMMY: Not if my legally registered firearm has anything to say about it! Bang! Bang! You're dead!
(he whips out another toy gun and pretends to shoot at MIKEY, who theatrically falls backwards. TOMMY then decides to ad lib and begins to beat MIKEY with the butt end of the gun)
TOMMY: Come in here and threaten me and my wife you stinking mother
(HESTON intervenes and ends the skit by rubbing TOMMY's forehead affectionately. TOMMY smiles mischievously, MIKEY gets up. all three kids bow and take their seats)
HESTON: Now of course, Mikey isn't really an evil criminal. In fact, his parents are
well-to-do banker friends of mine, and Tommy and Samantha aren't really married although their families might find such a union extremely convenient a few years down the road. Now, Tommy, what do you think that little play of ours meant?
TOMMY: That I'm a lot tougher than Mikey!
HESTON: Actually, boys, what it meant was that as American citizens, you have the right, if not the responsibility, to own a gun. Did you know that every American has that right? It's your Constitution Power, and with it, you can do all sorts of things!
MIKEY: Do I have Constitution Power, Mister Heston?
HESTON: When you get a little older, yes, you will.
TOMMY: And me too?
HESTON: Yes, Tommy, you too.
SAMANTHA: And me too?
HESTON: Er, well Samantha, you'll have your own, special Constitution Power. It has a time and a place too. (turns to face the CROWD) Ladies and gentlemen, Constitution Power is a very important, very serious thing and it needs to be protected from all those misguided people who try to take it away from us just as the British Army tried to take away our freedom back in 1776. As absurd as it may sound, there were a few misguided liberals even back then who didn't see a takeover when it was right in front of their faces. They said "No! Let's not have a revolution! Instead, let's let all the criminals go free and show our children pornography!" It was a good thing we had brave men like Johnny Freeman to realize what was really going on and to fight for liberty back then, and it's a good thing that we have men like David Freeman to provide us with the means to fight for liberty now. And so friends, having erected this marvelous statue, I'd like to say a few humble words of prayer. That is still legal in America isn't it? (more polite chuckles from the CROWD, who then fall respectfully silent and bow their heads) Let us pray that our Great God in Heaven will continue to watch over us, to keep us strong as he keeps us free. To allow us our freedoms to speak our minds, to worship Him in all His Heavenly splendor, and to carry lethal weapons to protect those freedoms, should it become necessary to do so. Amen. (the CROWD looks up) And now let us adjourn to a fabulous banquet lunch inside the Historical Society Museum, courtesy of Freeman Industries.
(much applause from the CROWD. as they begin to disperse,
the COMRADES linger behind)
IVAN: All right, friends. The bourgeois people are going inside their bourgeois building to have their bourgeois meal. We shall take them prisoner as soon as they are all securely inside the building. Dmitri, has a distraction for their security guards been created?
DMITRI: Yes, Commander. Their security is minimal and ineffective. If our operation is timed perfectly, there should be none on the premises for a 15 second window.
IVAN: That should be all we need. Raskolnikov, are the explosives ready?
RASKOLNIKOV: Yes, Commander. Say the word and this entire structure can be blown to bits.
IVAN: Hopefully that will not be necessary, but I'm glad that all contingencies have been accounted for. Move in.
STEVE: So, do we bother to cover the rest of this lameass "party"?
LUCY: Duh, of course we do. You don't honestly think we can allow someone as magnificent as Charlton Heston to eat lunch without us showing it to the world, do you?
STEVE: I'm sorry.
LUCY: Well you should be, after all I do for you.
(lights dim briefly. all characters reassemble inside the building in a cocktail party setting. people are eating, drinking, talking to each other and giving the appearance of having a good time. BILL DOBLER approaches HESTON)
DOBLER: Er, Mister Heston?
HESTON: Yes, my son?
DOBLER: My name's Bill Dobler. And I'm a huge fan of yours.
HESTON: (knowingly) I know. I know.
DOBLER: I represent the New Resistance publishing company. We're kind of a small outfit but perhaps you've heard of us and our important work. We print works whose sentiments are much like those expressed in your speech earlier. Why, I thought that little skit with those kids was adorable.
HESTON: I have been working on my writing skills. Perhaps you've read my book How To Be A Man?
DOBLER: I learned so much from it.
HESTON: I'll bet.
DOBLER: Anyway, our latest book is called A More Perfect Union and it's all about how we have the responsibility to resist the New World Order and its growing encroachment on the lives of the American people, and how the only way we can do that is to take matters into our own hands. And, well, I was wondering if you could read the manuscript and give us a quote.
HESTON: There's really no need. I can already tell that it's a significant and challenging work which no American home should be without.
DOBLER: Why, that's not bad at all.
HESTON: Glad I could be of service, my son. Now if you'll excuse me, there are others in the flock to attend to.
DOBLER: Of course.
(a WAITER serving hors d'oeuvres approaches DMITRI and ALOYSHA)
WAITER: Cheese chunks?
DMITRI: Cheese chunks? My people starve and you offer me cheese chunks!
WAITER: Er, would you prefer a candied pickle?
DMITIRI: Do you mock me?
WAITER: Not at all, I only
ALOYSHA: My friend has some difficulties controlling his temper. He would really prefer not to eat right now.
(bowing his head) My apologies. (he walks away from them)
ALOYSHA: It wasn't necessary to berate him like that, Dmitri. He was only doing his duty.
DMITRI: Doing his duty to serve an evil and unjust establishment you mean. His cheese chunks are just one more link in the American chain of imperialist domination.
ALOYSHA: Maybe so, but it is not wise to attract attention. We don't want to be caught before the operation can begin.
(LUCY is interviewing FREEMAN before the camera)
LUCY: How do you respond to the insinuation that this entire ceremony is nothing more than one big advertisement for Freeman Industries?
FREEMAN: (looking directly into the camera) To them I say that Freeman Industries is committed to providing the public with high quality, low maintenance firearms at reasonable prices for both recreational and defensive purposes, not to drawing publicity for itself, or for exploiting our close friendship with Charlton Heston, who is one of the greatest film stars of all time and who would never use his celebrity for commercial purposes and who would also like you to know that he has nothing but praise for our company. Excuse me. (he walks away)
IVAN: (to RASKOLNIKOV) Have all the doors been sealed and wired?
RASKOLNIKOV: All but the one you requested, Commander.
IVAN: Then the time is...(to the other COMRADES) Now!
(all four take strategic positions and draw their weapons on the CROWD)
IVAN: Everybody be cool this is a hostage situation! (the CROWD gasps) I am Commander Ivan Mishkin and these are the Comrades of Freedom. We represent the people of the Republic of Wackazania and all oppressed peoples throughout the world! We are here today to make the world take notice! All entrances and exits of this building have been wired with heavy explosives. Any attempt you make as a unit to resist us will result in the destruction of this entire building and the deaths of everyone inside. Any individual foolhardy enough to challenge us on his own will be killed. We are armed with AK-47 assault rifles. Our equipment is real and is quite capable of doing what we ask of it. It was purchased at a recent Terrorist Arms Bazaar that was unofficially sponsored by the "patriots" at Freeman Industries. Those same "patriots" who are in the room can attest to its quality. If you and your government cooperate with us, no one will be hurt. Refuse to cooperate, and you will die. Just as our people are dying right now, halfway around the world with no one to help them or even mourn them, so your formerly comfortable and prosperous lives are now in our hands.
SAMANTHA: What happened to our Constitution Power, Mister Heston?
HESTON: (grimly) Apparently they have more Constitution Power than we do at the moment.
ALOYSHA: We should at least let the children go.
IVAN: They will only grow up to be exactly like their parents, Aloysha.
ALOYSHA: They should at least be given a chance.
IVAN: (angrily turning to him) We weren't given a chance!
IVAN: (relenting) You're right, as usual. All the children will be allowed to leave. Soon.
HESTON: (stepping forward) Let my people go.
IVAN: We do not answer to you.
HESTON: Leave the civilians out of this. I'm the one you want. I'm Charlton Heston.
(nervous cheers from the audience, who fall quickly silent when
guns are waved at them by the angry COMRADES)
RASKOLNIKOV: Don't you know anything, Dmitri? Charlton Heston is an American film star and political activist. He has spent fifty years entertaining world audiences by bringing to life such extraordinary and unforgettable characters as Michelangelo, Moses, Ben Hur and the Omega Man. He has dedicated his golden years to speaking out in favor of conservative causes, taking the occasional supporting role and appearing very grandfatherly. We are in the presence of a living legend! (quickly) Which is, um, not to, er, say that he isn't a greedmongering fascist dog, of course...
HESTON: What I am is a law abiding American citizen, unlike you scum!
IVAN: We don't need to be lectured by you, Heston! You sit comfortably in your wealth droning on about family values while the women and children of the world suffer endlessly under the yoke of poverty and tyranny!
HESTON: (clenching his fists) What you need is a good whooping, punk!
IVAN: And I suppose you're just the man to give it to me!
HESTON: Well I'm not as young as I used to be but I'm still more than capable of taking out the trash when called to do so!
IVAN: That's right. You call us trash, pretending that you have nothing to do with the conditions that spawned us! As if your country which takes everything and gives back nothing truly is as great as the propaganda that you spout!
HESTON: You can hide behind all the rhetoric you want to justify your actions, but you're still nothing more than a terrorist.
IVAN: I am nothing more than a man named Ivan Mishkin who wishes to cease the violence that your country creates and then disregards.
HESTON: You are nothing more than a base villain.
IVAN: This is no doubt the point where you expect me to say that you and I are very much alike.
HESTON: The difference between you and I is that I serve my God and my country, while you serve no one.
IVAN: (pointing his gun directly at HESTON's head) No. The difference between you and I is that you are rich and powerful and famous and have lighter skin than I. I'm a dirt poor farmer from a country of dirt poor farmers. You are a celebrity. I am no one. The difference between us is shown better in our deaths than in our lives. When someone like you dies, it is a tragedy of immense proportions. When someone like me dies, it is an indifferent shrug.
HESTON: Have you ever thought that perhaps I seized the opportunities life handed me to make something of myself instead of sitting there whining like you and the rest of your country?
IVAN: You are unbelievable.
HESTON: So I have been told many times.
IVAN: (pointing to STEVE) You have been recording this, no?
STEVE: (has been doing so, turns camera quickly off, is now nervous) uh, no.
DMITRI: (snarls) Then why have you been clinging to it and pointing it at us?
STEVE: um. Force of habit. (everyone continues to stare) Balance. I'd, uh, fall without it. I'm so used to it being there. You know. um.
IVAN: Calm yourself. I am fully aware that the camera was operational up until a moment ago when you turned it off. I have no intention to punish you for that. It is actually what I was hoping for. The camera is capable of transmitting to your station outside, correct?
STEVE: Er, yes.
IVAN: Good. I want your media to see this, that they may be made aware of the plight of their precious Charlton Heston and in doing so be forced to listen to certain truths about the world that they would otherwise be able to ignore.
STEVE: I don't...er, there's just the record button and the zoom, there's nothing on here about what you said about forcing them and all.
IVAN: (sighs) Just begin to record and transmit when I tell you to do so. That will be sufficient. Now I want you and all the rest to turn your attention to the window on your left, where the statue of the great "hero" Johnny Freeman stands so magnificently.
HESTON: It stands a glorious inspiration to all true freedom fighters.
IVAN: Do you think so? Raskolnikov, let us inspire them further.
(RASKOLNIKOV removes a small remote control device from his coat pocket and presses a button, lights and sound effects from off-stage LEFT indicate a massive explosion to the shock of nearly everyone)
FREEMAN: (with cynical indifference) Sayonara, Grandad. Hello, insurance claim.
LUCY: That shot is going to go over big.
HESTON: (falling to his knees in rage and despair) You MANIACS! You blew it up! Damn you! God damn you all to HELL!
IVAN: You have seen that we are capable of destroying a stone icon. We are equally capable of destroying the flesh and blood variety. We have no desire to do this. If you cooperate, no one will be hurt.
HESTON: Someone already has been hurt: a lady named Liberty.
ALOYSHA: The statue was one of her offspring no doubt.
IVAN: Freedom is hurt not when you deal with us but when you deal with murdering thugs who call themselves "generals" and "presidents".
(IVAN glances over to the WAITER, whom DMITRI has been eyeing in a
threatening manner throughout the scene up to this point)
DMITRI: (menacing, to WAITER) Cheeeeese chunks?
DMITRI: Capitalist slime chunks as a second course, perhaps?
ALOYSHA: (to IVAN) Comrade Dmitri is in something of a state. May I suggest...
IVAN: (to ALOYSHA) Say no more. (to WAITER) You! Waiter!
WAITER: (nervous) Yes?
IVAN: Walk. Out the door. Away from here. You may take the children with you.
LUCY: Actually, Mister Terrorist, sir, I'm much, much more important than he is and if I were to leave with the children the whole situation would be taken more seriously...
IVAN: No! Don't you understand, you foolish little girl? It is you who are powerful and "important" that I want to be seen! I want your American viewing public to tune in to see you with we "undesirables". To see that when you bleed and when we bleed, it is the same!
STEVE: Sir, I should mention that she has very large breasts. Television watchers tend to like that. If you want, I could highlight that angle, you know, bring in more viewers that way...
IVAN: (ignoring him, to WAITER) Gather the children around you. You will walk out the door with them and never turn back. Do you understand? (WAITER nods, the CHILDREN go to him)
RASKOLNIKOV: (at door) The detonation mechanism is ready, sir. It will be operative as soon as I close the door.
IVAN: Good. (to STEVE) Begin transmitting now.
(STEVE positions the camera, turns it on. he shows the WAITER
and CHILDREN walking towards the door and then pans over to IVAN,
who speaks directly to the camera)
IVAN: Now hear this, American viewing public. We are the Comrades of Freedom. We are not faceless savages, as you would like to believe. We are real people, as you would very much like not to believe. Your material indulgences have created the hell in which our people live. We have learned your American language and intend to put on one of your "shows" for you. We are here to show you that your actions and indulgences are not without consequence. We are here to ask you, the powerful, to stop avoiding your responsibilities to the powerless. Among our hostages is your famous Charlton Heston. Neither he nor any of the others will not be freed until your government agrees to cut off all economic and political ties with the republic of Wackazania and all other nations whose governments engage in human rights abuses. You will do this regardless of whether these dictators are rich or poor, right wing or left wing, atheist or theocratic. You will keep your aggressive cultural pollutants to yourself and instead attempt to learn from us as well as teach us. You will offer instruction, not impose it. The deaths of innocent civilians will cease to be "acceptable consequences" for your political manueverings. You will cease your murderous military adventures abroad and instead use all that money and power to promote peace and tolerance throughout the world. It is our hope that the human race can go to the next century together rather than apart but you must agree, as we will, to renounce violence and oppression. Only then will you be able to deal with us.
HESTON: (quietly, to himself) You're a madman, Mishkin, and I'll see you go down.
IVAN: To demonstrate our goodwill to you, we will release the three children here. The door will be sealed behind them. If it is opened, this entire building will automatically detonate. Laser trip-wires assure the same condition for the windows. If I am killed, rendered unconscious, or removed from this building, it will also detonate thanks to a technology developed by your Freeman Industries that allows for me to require that my vital signs be fully present and operative for the bomb to remain calm. There is nothing that you can do except stay tuned. (waves to WAITER and CHILDREN, who begin walking) We will release the children n--
(BILL DOBLER bursts into the room)
(DOBLER throws a knife through RASKOLNIKOV, who falls backwards and knocks the door shut in doing so. everyone stares, mouths agape. DOBLER stands proudly)
DOBLER: Get the point, you bast--
(IVAN, DMITRI, and ALOYSHA, wearing incredulous looks, shoot DOBLER)
DMITRI: What the hell was that?
IVAN: Dmitri, make sure he was alone. Aloysha, check the door and comrade Raskolnikov. God damn it...
(they rush to their tasks. HESTON steps forward)
HESTON: (through clenched teeth) Damn you, you killed him like an animal. An animal!
IVAN: (angrily) That man shed the first blood here, not I. (to DMITRI) Comrade Raskolnikov, how is he?
DMITRI: (without looking up) Dead. (remains over body, head bowed in silence)
ALOYSHA: (completes sweep of room) Perimeter is secure.
HESTON: You shot him in the middle of his one-liner, you monster. That man was a hero. Have you no sense of decency?
IVAN: You are unbelievable.
ALOYSHA: The door is sealed and the window trip-lasers are active. No one's getting in or out of here.
HESTON: And I suppose that talk about letting the children go was more of your reprehensible preening for the television?
IVAN: I tried to let them go. Your "hero" picked a very bad time for his heroics.
HESTON: Heroism does not have a time or a place. It is an immortal virtue native to the hearts of decent men, although I suppose villains like you wouldn't know a thing about that.
IVAN: What do you know about me, my brothers, or why we do the things that we do? We are not characters in one of your movies. Have you been paying attention at all? You don't even have the first idea of what we're trying to do here, do you?
HESTON: Tell me, then. What precisely is it that you want to happen here?
IVAN: (hesitates, then looks away, then to STEVE quickly) Stop recording, god damn it!
STEVE: (turns camera off) Sorry.
ALOYSHA: (walks to DMITRI) Is there nothing to be done?
DMITRI: Nothing. That man knew exactly where to aim. He was no civilian. He was a killer.
ALOYSHA: I have found that people are capable of being many different things at many different times.
DMITRI: Never an end to the surprises.
(all look up, surprised, by the VOICE outside)
VOICE: They have ceased broadcasting from inside! I repeat, they have ceased broadcasting from inside! One cannot help but worry for the worst. Have the thirsts of these dastardly terrorists run to blood?
(IVAN looks at LUCY and STEVE, who shrug)
VOICE: We're broadcasting live from outside what was once just a modest banquet hall in New York and is now a pit of carnage and fear! This morning, many innocent Americans filed into the hall with no intent on their minds other than paying homage to a great hero and founder of our country, Johnny Freeman. They came to applaud the American dream only to become trapped in a waking nightmare!
LUCY: Oh, fuck. It's the WRCT ReAction News team. (rolls eyes) They compensate for their delayed response time with gratuitous hyperbole.
STEVE: Sir, we really should be broadcasting this. We're letting them have exclusive...
IVAN: Not yet. Let them have their advertising dollars. I have...other matters to attend to. (joins ALOYSHA and DMITRI at RASKOLNIKOV's body, looks up at the sky, speaks softly) What now, Fyodor? Another one dies and still no one takes note and still nothing has changed. What now?
ALOYSHA: I hate to have to say this but we must find a way to preserve his body. And the killer's.
IVAN: Yes. You, waiter. Go into the kitchen and find a pair of large crates where we can store the dead.
WAITER: Well, sir, that's really not something I'm good at. I mostly serve hors d'oeuvres.
DMITRI: Do it now!
IVAN: And while you are at it, bring fresh food provisions.
DMITRI: The meal you were intending to serve, worm!
WAITER: Well, actually, cheese chunks and candied pickles are all we have at the moment!
IVAN: What? I thought this was a gala lunch!
FREEMAN: It was really more of a cocktail party actually. Budgetary concerns you know.
DMITRI: (spits) How typical! Here in your place of monuments to the illusions that you call history, we shall sit hungry.
ALOYSHA: You memorialize but you cannot feed.
IVAN: Enough! Pack the crates and store the bodies! It is the best memorial we can give to our friend.
(lights dim hallway momentarily. when they are restored, all
characters save ALOYSHA and IVAN are sleeping on the floor)
ALOYSHA: You should sleep Ivan. I will keep watch.
IVAN: Raskolnikov sleeps forever.
ALOYSHA: You have to stop blaming yourself for that. You planned this mission well. You could not have foreseen the actions of a mad fool.
IVAN: I am your leader. It is my duty to foresee everything.
ALOYSHA: As it was Fyodor's? He was a great leader but that did not stop him from losing a lot of lives, including his own.
IVAN: What would he think of his little brother now?
ALOYSHA: Does that matter?
IVAN: Of course it matters!
IVAN: Because he was my Commander and my brother. Because he was Fyodor!
ALOYSHA: Wherever he is now, he is in no place to affect anything that we face.
IVAN: I owe his memory nothing less than...
ALOYSHA: You owe his memory nothing, Ivan! Because that is all it is. A memory.
IVAN: If you believe that, than why the hell are you here?
ALOYSHA: I'm only saying what you yourself would have said a few years ago. Let me tell you what I remember. I remember two brothers, both of whom I loved and trusted with my life. But these two brothers were different as could be. The differences between them were what made both of them strong. Sometimes I think that Fyodor Mishkin didn't truly die in the street that day, but Ivan Mishkin did.
IVAN: What are you talking about?
ALOYSHA: I'm talking about Ivan. The man of peace. The man who believed there could be something more to this world than blood and chaos.
IVAN: (angrily turning to face ALOYSHA) That man died because he was a naive and hopeless child who could not deal with reality!
ALOYSHA: Reality is no more than what the voices in our heads agree upon most of the time.
IVAN: Now you're hearing voices.
ALOYSHA: Each of us hears a voice in our heads, Ivan. The voices which guide us through our lives. Sometimes we stop listening and we begin to hear the voices of dead men instead. Just ask yourself if that voice speaking to you is alive or dead, because only a living voice can get you through this.
IVAN: Go to sleep, Aloysha. I will stand watch.
(ALOYSHA complies and lies down on the stage floor. IVAN closes his eyes
as the lights again dim halfway. The CHORUS returns)
CHORUS: The camera remained silent,
and those who could not see
were forced to draw their own image
of what transpired inside of the hall.
For a day, and another, and a third...
(the CHORUS shuffles off; the cast returns to life)
HESTON: And that's another thing. Judah Ben-Hur was no more a homosexual than I am. And I've been married to the same lovely woman for over half a century.
WAITER: (nervous) Cheese chunk, sir?
DMITRI: (takes one without looking at WAITER) This is the tenth cheese chunk I've had in the last ten hours!
FREEMAN: We weren't planning on staying here for three days, believe it or not. Perhaps in your country you're used to springing these sorts of barbarous surprises upon each other, but where I come from we take our right to the pursuit of happiness seriously...
IVAN: Quiet. (to ALOYSHA) Candied pickles and cheese chunks, for days on end. Is this safe?
ALOYSHA: By no means is it healthy. As for the exact negative effects, that, among many other things, was Raskolnikov's area of expertise.
WAITER: (to SAMANTHA) Candied pickles, little girl?
SAMANTHA: Eww, those are gross. Pickles aren't candy.
MIKEY: I'll have some.
TOMMY: Me too.
WAITER: (to HESTON) Candied pickles, sir?
HESTON: No, just a cheese chunk for me. The boys are enjoying those pickles so much, it would be a sin for an old man like me to take one. They need their food to grow up strong, and if it be pickles that they desire, then so be it. You're doing a good job here, son.
WAITER: Thank you, sir. I've got to tell you now that I've got the chance. You've always been an inspiration to me in my work.
HESTON: (knowingly) I know. I know.
VOICE: The crowd out here is just surging with excitement...the stage is almost set now.
DMITRI: (snaps to attention) An assault? They're mad!
ALOYSHA: Calm, Dmitri. Even America does not broadcast surprise attacks on live TV yet.
VOICE: (excited) Pop superstar Marilyn Spencer is coming onstage now...she'll be performing live, her song "A Flower in Any Soil"...she originally wrote it for the hostages at the American Embassy in Iran back in 1980, but they're free now, so they don't matter...okay, she's ready, we're switching to her now...
SPENCER: (heard, not seen) ahm...hello? Is this on? Okay. (switches quickly to a very somber, serious voice) This song is for Charlton Heston, who represented all that's brave and good about America, and...and...the children in there.
(a simple piano or acoustic guitar accompaniment begins, a very basic I-IV-V
maudlin-sounding progression. HESTON gathers the children close to him)
HESTON: (to the children) Mikey...Tommy...Samantha...they remember us out there. We are not forgotten. America is still with us, do you hear me?
SPENCER: (begins to sing)
Goodbye, Michelangelo, may you paint on in our hearts
You were the brush that colored for us words of wisdom from afar.
You demanded the attention of our country and you gave our foes a bruise
Now your crusade moves on to heaven and God's green pastures too.
Chorus: (repeat after every verse)
And it seems to me that you would be
a flower in any soil.
Never fading with the picture screen when the movie comes to a close
And your voice will always echo through America's halls of what is just
The sound died down before your truth ever will.
Truth and bravery your art, cowardly heathens quaked in the dark
At the towering glory of our country's patriarch.
And even though terrorists tried to silence you with their un-American sneer
No degenerate gun-wielding maniacs could wipe away the majesty of your career.
Goodbye Moses the Lawgiver may you preach on from Mount Sinai and beyond.
Goodbye George Taylor, may you chase those dam-ned apes to the stars.
You were the force that stood in front of those who would have torn our Constitution apart.
Goodbye John Charlton Carter, from a flock lost without your guidance
We will miss your rendition of the American Dream for the rest of our waking days.
(there is thunderous applause from outside. everyone inside save HESTON, the COMRADES, and the CHILDREN are in tears at the beauty of the song, although some of them are faking it)
HESTON: (bemused, after a brief silence) That's all really very sweet, but I don't think they realize that I'm not dead yet.
VOICE: She's leaving the stage now...such an emotional performance...Marilyn has stated unequivocally that she will not perform it live again...however, I am told that you can buy a copy of today's performance...
DMITRI: If you have money, and if you have a home in which to listen to it, and if they will grant you the electricity to operate the player, then you can partake in this wonderful thing...
VOICE: This just in...her managers say that it will be available tomorrow in stores across the nations as the B-side to the new single from her forthcoming comeback album I Am The Heat. Wow! Get in line now, folks!
DMITRI: (to IVAN and ALOYSHA) Shouldn't we go back on the air yet?
ALOYSHA: No. It is of no use. We thought we were starting everything perfectly. We gave them the explosion to catch their eye and the words to fill their minds. How were we to know that if we removed their icons from them, their attractive newswomen and their movie stars, their business executives and their hollow monuments, that they would go so far as to re-create them outside? The songs, the ratings, the stock reports. They want the ideas of these people, not the people themselves. That is the entire point of the icon-making that America is so famous for. It is to make the actual person unnecessary.
DMITRI: But that is the only way that we have to communicate with them! We have no radios, no telephones, only this camera. We can make no demands with silence. Mustn't we do something?
IVAN: (sighs) What are we doing here? We so boldly thought that we could seize the eyes and ears of the American television monster. We thought that we could force it to transform what it shows its people. Instead, it has transformed us. It has transformed us from a band of nameless foreigners into mad-dog blood maniacs.
ALOYSHA: With no real participation on our parts.
IVAN: Oh, hell...who knows, really...according to their televisions, there was a lot of participation on our parts. According to their insistence upon the existence of heroes and villains, we killed a hero. That he killed a villain is only natural to them. That we killed a hero is unforgivable.
DMITRI: This is wrong! It cannot be like this! (turns angrily, walks to STEVE) Turn your camera on. Now. I have something to say to your television and to your concepts of heroes and villains.
STEVE: (shrugs) I'll turn it on if you want, but it's not going to do any good.
DMITRI: No more! I am tired of this resignation! I intend to act!
STEVE: No, no, it's literally not going to do any good. I've been transmitting from this camera but they're not even bothering to receive it anymore. The station is doing its own coverage from outside.
DMITRI: This makes no sense! What happened to your talk of exclusive rights and ratings bonzos?
STEVE: I guess our ratings weren't very good. The story makes more sense to them from out there.
HESTON: (marches up to IVAN) Damn it, man, at least let the children go!
IVAN: I have told you before, I cannot! The last door is sealed! I tried!
HESTON: Is no generation of America safe from your savage mockery?
IVAN: You are unbelievable.
FREEMAN: Look. Ivan.
FREEMAN: I am willing to negotiate a deal with you.
HESTON: What? Now's not the time to give in, man? What's happened to your loyalty to Old Glory?
FREEMAN: I'm loyal to the idea of getting us out of here alive. I'll stop doing business with your country's government. I'll encourage others to do the same. Just end this and let us go.
IVAN: You built your empire with lies masquerading as bricks, Freeman. I have no interest in your fleeting promises. Neither does the ghost of my brother, who will remain a ghost long after your promise has been reversed and forgotten. I bear no ill will towards the children, though, and I do not desire to be seen by the outside world as a monster that I am not. If you can disarm one of the door laser trip-mines, we will let you take the children out of here with you.
FREEMAN: Great! I'll go get to work on it.
(FREEMAN starts towards the door. HESTON stops him)
HESTON: (grim) David.
FREEMAN: (impatient) Yes?
HESTON: How do you know how to know how to work the equipment that they brought?
FREEMAN: (irritated) Because I sold it, I should have some familiar...(falters, realizing that he is saying this to HESTON) er...that is...I don't know it all that well...I mean...
HESTON: (furious) You sold this equipment. To these mad dogs.
FREEMAN: Oh. Er...
HESTON: (contemptful) Did you sell dangerous weaponry to unlicensed foreigners you did not know a thing about? Because if you did, you sold out our Constitution to the highest bidder.
FREEMAN: Um. They, uh, had all the proper papers, see...
HESTON: You bastard. You sick, lying bastard. Choose now, between running shamefully for freedom or maintaining the facade. Either way, you have already marked yourself a criminal.
FREEMAN: (gives up) What is the matter with you?!? You make no sense to me! Yeah, I'll sell weaponry to whoever can pay for it. It's basic capitalism, you old fool! Supply and demand! It's only the little people who get hurt when the terrorists do their shtick! I mean, most of the time they just stay in their own countries and kill each other off. If they come over here, it's usually just pointless civilians who get wiped out. This was an anomaly! Meanwhile, people like you and me are safe in our homes with our arsenals. What's the problem? Little people have to die! It's what makes the world go around! They're going to die anyways, so who cares how? They're soldiers in a new kind of war, an economic war, and it's a war that's every bit as important as any other in history for establishing our place in the world scheme! Now will you please fuck off out of my way?!?
(HESTON knocks FREEMAN out with one punch)
HESTON: (to FREEMAN's body) Don't refer to "people like you and me". Though I had been sadly deceived on the subject for quite some time, it is now eminently clear that there is nothing that we share.
IVAN: (aside) It doesn't bother him at all that Freeman is unconscious, does it?
ALOYSHA: (shrugs) The man is reading from a script somewhere in his head. It's just the way he works.
HESTON: (to IVAN) Now let the children go!
IVAN: (groans) Oh, not again...
(the lights dim halfway and the CHORUS shuffles back onstage)
CHORUS: Resolution lingers in the distance as it wishes,
in this situation as in any other.
Despite their bluffs and the money made in the process,
those who profit from destruction can rarely disassemble their product,
and here was no exception.
All remained in the room.
Often it is wished by those who have drawn it
that the picture of a moment would become the entire show.
But a moment stretches no further than a moment,
and a situation never remains the same for long.
Without participation from those inside of it,
a thing inevitably progresses of its own determination.
The will of chaos is rarely a clean one...
(the CHORUS shuffles back off; lights return)
FREEMAN: (awaking suddenly from slumber) Oh, no...you there, terrorist, how long have we been here for?
DMITRI: Eight days.
FREEMAN: Well, you know those candied pickles?
FREEMAN: They were purchased from a discount supplier...the, ah, candying really wasn't done in a top-notch manner...they really weren't meant to last for this long...
DMITRI: I have had only cheese chunks. I do not know what you mean.
(MIKEY wobbles to his feet and takes SAMANTHA in his arms)
MIKEY: Baby...I can see the universe.
SAMANTHA: You can?
MIKEY: I can see all of us...as one...
SAMANTHA: Even Tommy? Eww!
MIKEY: It's like...all the colors that we see are a myth...because, what...what really...is the line between the real and the cartoon? And what...is the line...between the cartoon...and the infinite?
MIKEY: The cow...only says "moo"...because "moo" is all that he can see...his mind is just that one button that you push to make him say "moo"...but my mind is like...a string...that you can pull...and all along the string are more strings...and each one...says something different...we can go so far beyond "moo" and "oink"...
SAMANTHA: You're acting like a weirdo, Mikey.
MIKEY: Damn, baby, you're cramping my style...you got to break on through...
SAMANTHA: I'm going to go play with Tommy now.
(SAMANTHA walks away. she approaches TOMMY, who barks like a dog at her, and she decides to sit in a corner by herself. MIKEY sits down, cross-legged, with a satisfied dreamy grin on his face. everyone seems to be growing ill save DMITRI, SAMANTHA, and HESTON)
LUCY: (to STEVE) You want to see them? You really want to see them?
STEVE: (to no one in particular) It's not me...it's the camera...its eye is like a meteor hurtling forward through time and space, demanding more sight, more sight, and using my body as its pawn...its vehicle...
LUCY: (tears open her shirt) Here! Here are my breasts! They're right here! Come to momma, baby!
STEVE: Although they're right in front of me, I'm not even seeing her breasts...the camera is robbing me of all sensory experience, it is a hateful symbiote without which I cannot live...
LUCY: Tell me what you see! Here's what you were waiting for! Here's your PG, PG-13, R, and NC-17, all rolled into one! It's right here! The objects that you've been dancing around for all of human history! It's all about my breasts! Every camera angle! Every bit of lighting! God damn it, all art is foreplay! Well, here it is! Here are my breasts!
HESTON: Woman, get control over yourself! There are children here!
LUCY: I am in control! I'm finally giving the people what they want! All breasts all the time! I'm the one moving us all forward! Forward with my breasts! My breasts are no longer to be whispered about irreverently. They are to be adored and worshipped in all their divine glory!
HESTON: (grabbing LUCY by the shoulders and turning her around) That's enough, young lady. Working so long in the liberal media has caused you to become filthy in the mind. Everyone is going mad and I'm the only voice of reason. It's exactly like the sixties!
FREEMAN: (shrugs) Not as I remember them.
DMITRI: (grabbing FREEMAN and shaking him) What then? What have you done? What poison did you put into their food?
FREEMAN: (weakly) They're hallucinating. No poison...just super-savings when you buy in bulk.
DMITRI: (throws FREEMAN down, walks to ALOYSHA) The American dog has attempted to poison everyone with super-savings. Do you know any remedy for this?
(ALOYSHA shrugs) Well, what are we to do? (ALOYSHA shrugs. DMITRI, frustrated, looks over at IVAN, who is kneeling on the floor, clearly in no condition to answer questions) Aloysha, Ivan is indisposed. This is no time for reticence. Answer me!
ALOYSHA: In silence I can deny the answers. In denying the answers I deny the questions. In denying the questions I remain immune to the universe and its never ending demands. You cannot conquer that which no longer cares whether it is to be conquered or not.
DMITRI: (frantic) Aloysha has swallowed the poison as well. I must...(rushes to the WAITER) You! It was you who delivered the poisonous super-savings to everyone! You must have an answer!
WAITER: (has just vomited) I really...really...really...really...really...
DMITRI: (sighs) You have eaten the pickles too.
FREEMAN: (calling over weakly) Am I to understand that you ate some of the hors d'oeuvres, waiter?
FREEMAN: Oh, you are so fired, buster. Freeman Industries does not tolerate employee theft.
WAITER: (breaking down in tears) Oh...thou hast destroyed me...sure as...as surely as...destruction itself...
STEVE: (walking by) The downfall of mankind is created by the camera's rampant desire to see the downfall of mankind. If it is not properly supplied with such things in nature, it creates that which it yearns to witness. We say that we have to give the people what they want but really it's all about what the camera wants.
DMITRI: No downfalling! There will be no downfalling, do you hear me?
VOICE: Day Eight of the terrifying hostage ordeal inside Freeman Hall continues...
HESTON: (to IVAN) Do you see what you've done? This is what happens when you pervert the Constitution of the United States! Madness! Why, if it weren't dishonorable to hit a man who's already down, I'd give you such a thrashing...
VOICE: Rumors are spreading like wildfire about what is happening inside...
HESTON: And damn you, you should have let the children go!
DMITRI: (waves gun) Back away from the Commander! He is not well, but I assure you I have bullets if that is what you seek!
(HESTON and DMITRI engage in a prolonged staredown. finally, SAMANTHA tugs at HESTON's sleeve and attracts his attention away. he kneels to face her and hug her)
SAMANTHA: Mr. Heston...
HESTON: Call me Grandfather, child.
SAMANTHA: Grandfather, why is everyone acting so strangely? Even most of the bad guys are sick too!
HESTON: Samantha...we have to be strong for them because we love them. We have to make sure that they know that somewhere out there, the American Dream shines on in all this chaos. That's what's making them ill, dear. It's the uncertainty. In hard times like these, it's sometimes hard to remember that just outside these walls there is a beautiful land of justice and freedom where a man can walk down the street with his best girl on one arm and a legally registered firearm in another. But we have to remember that, and we have to remind all of our poor sick friends. America is out there.
SAMANTHA: But why are the bad guys sick? They don't like America.
HESTON: The bad guys are sick because God hates them.
(DMITRI moves to talk to IVAN)
DMITRI: Sir, I am apologetic for interrupting you in your time of indisposure, but...
IVAN: Go ahead. Give it to the Comrade.
VOICE: The sun is setting on Day Eight of the Carnage at Freeman Hall.
DMITRI: Well, this is not going so well any longer. This illness may be serious.
IVAN: What choice do we have? Freedom has handed us this burden.
DMITRI: I am not sure that I am catching hold of your meaning, sir...
IVAN: (screams) We can't leave! (quieter, still forceful) History has conspired to bring us to this point, where we have failed, and we cannot escape history. It put us here. We are immobile in its immense grasp.
VOICE: The monstrous terrorists inside have reportedly been entirely uncooperative to every effort of law enforcement officials working to bring this nightmare to a close. To a request just a moment ago that the children be released, the leader of the terrorists screamed in his frightening jagged voice "THEY CAN'T LEAVE!" and said no more.
IVAN: Do I desire to be here amongst all these deranged Americans? Of course not. But why bother to speak about something as irrelevant as my desire? Anyone who tells you that we ever had any choice in being here is trying to pass super-savings off on you.
VOICE: Police Lieutenant Brickowski is in charge of law and order's end of the operation here. Lieutenant, can you give us a bit of insight as to the methods and reason behind this savage madness?
BRICK: Yeah, sure. Well, I been talking to them...
VOICE: You've been in contact with the terrorists? I thought that there was there was no direct communication inside.
BRICK: Um, there's this, uh, special thing that we been using. Real high-tech.
VOICE: Oh, okay.
BRICK: So, I got one thing to tell ya about 'em, and that's these guys are not smart. They don't have a good American education like we do, ya know? But don't be makin' any mistakes. These guys are smart evil-like. Not in goodness. In evil.
IVAN: We slid forwards down a rapid rushing river. The water in that river was the blood of our ancestors. We were born at one end of that river and we will die somewhere in the middle. Our blood, heavy with the weight of our failure here at the moment of truth, will sink to the bottom.
BRICK: So, like, I been talkin' to them, and I go (stilted, as if reading from a sheet of paper) "Come on, at least let the children go. They are only children. They have their entire lives a, uh, head of them. We are prepared to listen to your demands if you will just let the children go." (normal) 'cause, you know, I like children. I'm kinda a softie like that. But man, these monsters, they're all (stilted again) "No! We will keep the children for use in our pagan rituals! Ha! Ha!" (normal) They're sick, these guys. Pardon my French, ya know, but they're godless bastards.
IVAN: Freedom is staring down at us in anger. The angry ghosts of our ancestors are circling in fury. We had the chance to loose Freedom from its cage. We can only pray that others will have the same opportunity, that ours was not the last. If it was, we have damned all children born to all mothers everywhere. We had the world's attention for a moment and we lost it. No one is listening anymore.
BRICK: I tell ya, if these army guys would listen to me and kids weren't in there, and Charlton Heston (cheers from the crowd outside) too, I'd just nuke the damn place.
VOICE: Thank you, Lieutenant Brickowski. This reporter cannot help but wonder if, now that the gentle intelligent approach espoused by negotiators so far has failed, perhaps now is the time for brute force. Is that all that these terrorists understand?
IVAN: Fyodor assured me that all the deaths would be worth it for the service of Freedom. But we have failed Freedom and she is angry with us and she has abandoned us. Now, Dmitri, can you see them? Just over there? There is the ghost of the first man who I killed when I was a mere twelve years old, a drunk and angry Soviet soldier who had wandered from his platoon. And behind him are all the rest. Every single person who I have killed in the pursuit of our cause. They are angry and they are waiting for me.
VOICE: In related news, Marilyn Spencer's single "You Look So Hot In That Jacket/A Flower in Any Soil '98" has become the largest selling record of all time. I know it hasn't left my stereo! This coverage of the Bloody Nightmarish Hell at Freeman Hall '98 is brought to you by Zip-Zap Cola. The Unstoppable Rampage of Taste Brings You an Unceasing Rampage of Human Terror!
IVAN: And over there, on the other side, are all of our dead Comrades. Yuri who sacrificed himself to save our family when we were just children. Alexei who taught me marksmanship. They're all standing there, everyone who has died for the cause of freedom for Wackazania. Even my father. I'm seeing the exact same look he wore on his face when the KGB came to take him away, even though I was three years old when it happened. Even Fyodor. Even Raskolnikov. (lifts his head weakly) Comrade Raskolnikov, will you help us with the medical attention? Will you help us operate the technical equipment that we brought with us? Of course not. You are angry. (drops his head back down) They are all angry. Both legions of ghosts are angry because our failure has rendered their deaths meaningless. It is their stares which are holding me in place, Dmitri. That is why we cannot leave.
DMITRI: I know we can't leave but that doesn't mean we have to lie down and die!
IVAN: Doesn't it? (IVAN falls over again)
DMITRI: What can I do? Surrounded by madmen! I've always been a man of action! Planning and reasoning I've always left to the others!
(HESTON, bored, is looking for someone to talk to. he approaches DMITRI)
HESTON: You know, I attended a prestigious university. I'm no slouch when it comes to intellect.
DMITIRI: Oh? And I suppose you are the perfect man to advise me?
HESTON: I grew up right near the university. It's a lovely little town full of honest, hard working people. The moral decay of our nation has touched even it, though. The university admits foolish, coddled, pseudo-intellectual mama's boys and turns away the kind of good, hard-working, driven youngsters that built this nation. The streets teem with punks with no respect for authority. Truly, I ask you, is there any sadder sight than...
DMITIRI: The state of your hometown doesn't interest me, Heston! What interests me is making sure these people don't kill themselves in their deluded state!
HESTON: I know just the thing. I'll perform the Player King speech from Hamlet. That should entertain them sufficiently so they don't think about doing anything crazy.
DMITRI: People who are hallucinating and vomiting do not need to hear speeches.
HESTON: It can't hurt...
DMITRI: Go away! I'm not interested in talking to a self absorbed moron!
HESTON: No respect indeed. You'd fit right in on those streets.
DMITRI: (suddenly enraged) I can kill you! I can kill you all! Maybe we will die but we'll go down fighting!
SAMANTHA: Oh, please.
DMITRI: (looking at her) What are you talking about, you stupid little girl?
SAMANTHA: Oh, I'm stupid, huh? Like I'm the one who came in with a gun and started to yell at people and thinks that'll do some good!
DMITRI: Oh, I'm misguided, huh? Like I'm the one who's a spoiled prepubescent brat and thinks that I know anything about the real world!
SAMANTHA: You're just like a boy, even if you are grown up you still like to hit and yell instead of be nice to people!
DMITRI: You're just like a little Barbie doll, all you do is go from birthday party to birthday party instead of fighting for your survival like every Wackazanian child has to!
SAMANTHA: I'm only in the fourth grade and I don't know anything about Wacka... whatever. But I know what you're doing is bad.
DMITRI: With your money and your innocence you can afford to believe in good and bad but no Wackazanian child can.
SAMANTHA: You think you're so smart just because you come from Wackasomething!
DMITRI: No, you think you're so smart just because you come from America!
SAMATHA: No, you do!
DMITRI: No, you do!
SAMANTHA: (calming down) Look, Grandfather Heston says that you're bad and that God hates you. But I don't know if that's true.
HESTON: (deeply shaken) You're breaking a poor old man's heart, child!
SAMANTHA: I know you think you're telling the truth, Grandfather, but I'm just thinking. You remind me a lot of Mikey and Tommy the way they're always being mean. They're not really mean. It's just that big boys push them around so they push me around. People are mean to you, so you get mean. But that's not the, what's that word? It's not the...um...muh...match...grown-up thing to do.
DMITRI: I don't believe I'm listening to this child's theories on psychology and world politics! I have an AK-47 in my hand!
HESTON: (with a genuine smile dawning) The Bible tells us that a child shall lead us...
DMITRI: Oh, shut up!
SAMANTHA: See, he wasn't being mean to you, but you had to go and be mean to him...
HESTON: The child speaks wise words, my friend.
HESTON: Call me Grandfather. (DMITRI is speechless)
SAMANTHA: So, I think that meanness makes meanness and that's all it can make. That's why everything is going bad now.
HESTON: You'd do well to listen to her, son.
SAMANTHA: And why didn't you bring any girl terrorists? Girls can hold guns just as well as any boy can. I know this one girl who does computers well, like the things you put on the doors.
DMITRI: You know, you're right.
HESTON: (chuckles) Okay, that's quite enough, dear. (to DMITRI) Not every egg the goose lays is golden, after all.
SAMANTHA: Did I ever tell you about the one time that Susie's father lost a lot of money in the stock market and he took out his gun and...
DMITRI: (interested) Really? What did he do?
SAMANTHA: He went to his office with the gun and then he...
HESTON: Alright, alright.
(TOMMY wanders by, stops, and barks. STEVE has been following
him closely with the camera, murmuring incoherently)
HESTON: (sighs) What a state my children are in. Something must be done. What kind of a grandfather am I to have let them come to this? It pains me deeply.
(HESTON steps aside to survey the room. things have calmed down a bit. LUCY has cradled the WAITER in her arms. MIKEY and ALOYSHA are nodding wordlessly at each other. everyone is more or less avoiding FREEMAN. IVAN, who had fallen silent and continued to be hunched over on his knees, begins to stir)
HESTON: We cannot remain like this, Dmitri. They are not well.
DMITRI: Heston...(HESTON gives him a look) Fine, "Grandfather", why do you act this way towards me? We are mortal enemies, are we not? Opponents of your sacred liberty?
HESTON: That little girl made me realize a thing or two as well. Son, underneath your cold exterior of an insane foreign terrorist, there is a good American waiting to get out. A real American. The kind who took up arms against a...monster (indicating FREEMAN) who threatened his home and hearth. I respect that.
HESTON: (knowingly) I know. I know.
IVAN: (rising to his knees) Then you will help us?
HESTON: (suddenly enraged) Damn you, Mishkin! So you're awake, eh? Then take a good look at what you've done, you mad dog!
IVAN: But...you just said...to Dmitri...
HESTON: I'll see you pay, Mishkin. This is not over between the two of us.
IVAN: You are unbelievable.
DMITRI: (rushing to IVAN's aid in helping him rise) Sir, how is it that you are well?
IVAN: (not at full strength) The ghosts that confronted me existed long before I swallowed the super-savings and will continue to exist long after the pickles that opened the door for them. They had something to say. I listened. And their time was done.
DMITRI: And what did they say?
IVAN: That they would always be present, but that they could never return to where we are. That I must pay mind to those who are where we are. Those ghosts died so that we might live, and we did them no dishonor by trying and failing. The only dishonor that we can do our ancestors is resignation. Have we failed? Yes, most certainly. But failure is not death. It is not our place to say when life is over, and I was impudent to mix the two. Nothing is over. In seeking guidance and direction, too often we attempt to attune ourselves to the voice to which our ancestor listened, the voice that defined freedom for him or her. That is a mistake. That voice does not belong to us. It is dead. There is a living voice waiting for each of us. Following the orders of the dead, you become dead. Walking amongst the living...inspiring life into them...being what they least expect, forcing them to turn their eyes away from dead perceptions and towards what is around them...that is how you become...(collapses into DMITRI's arms)
DMITRI: With ease, sir. You are not well.
HESTON: (somewhat unsure of himself) Don't make some half hearted attempt at redemption here, punk.
IVAN: Everything I've said in the past eight days about your corruption has been true. I still stand by every statement that I made. The difference is that I cannot speak of my own righteousness for I am not a righteous man. I'm a lost man. I still don't know what to do. We can't surrender but we can't shed any more blood either.
DMITRI: Then what do you suggest?
IVAN: I don't know!
SAMANTHA: Why can't you just tell everyone that you're sorry and let us go?
IVAN: Because it doesn't work like that, little girl. For one thing, we're not particularly sorry. And for another thing, they will not allow us to let you go.
DMITRI: (confused) They won't?
HESTON: If this is another of your lies, Mishkin...
IVAN: It is not. Several nights ago, Aloysha and I attempted to contact them with equipment cobbled together from the camera's transmitter and backup equipment brought by Raskolnikov. The radio worked. They heard us. We know that. But they did not care. They want us here.
HESTON: But why?
IVAN: I am certain that, despite your bravado, you know the answer to that question. It is for the same reason that you insist on reacting suspiciously to every word I say. They want us to be villains. It profits them to have us act like this. From this crisis, they sell records. They receive ratings bonzos. They prevent the American public from seeing Wackazanians as what they truly are, scared and hurt people, and instead puts the image of the mad-dog terrorist in their mind. It excuses their neglect.
HESTON: (after a long pause) They mean well, Americans do. You have to believe that.
IVAN: I am sure that they do. That is why I will kill no more of them. I don't know what I will do. I will make noise. Not their noise. This, this is their noise. I will make my noise. Little girl, yours is a voice that is alive. It was buried underneath dirt of a narrow suburban worldview, but it will not be dead unless you abandon it. Do not do that.
SAMANTHA: Okay. What are you going to do?
IVAN: I am going to confound their images at every step, and I will make them think. Somehow.
(the CHORUS returns)
CHORUS: It was once said that in Paradise,
every man would be a king.
It is not true.
Paradise is a land where dominion is a foreign concept.
To remove a king from a land is not enough;
The tyranny of ideas is equally harsh.
Perceptions rule with an iron fist.
In Paradise, one can change their face at will
and change it so freely that a higher truth about them
is all that remains where a wall used to be.
Freedom in the slipstream of being.
(the CHORUS shuffles off. a tired, dressed LUCY and STEVE are doing a report with a new camera. the other hostages are receiving medical attention save HESTON, who is gallantly refusing it. neither FREEMAN nor the COMRADES are anywhere to be seen)
LUCY: The ordeal is over. The hostages are being evacuated from Freeman Hall now after an anonymous radio tip alerted federal marshals to a major design flaw in the technology used by the terrorists: the internal power supplies of the equipment were faulty and drained more quickly than was expected by the terrorists. They were forced to resort to Freeman Hall's own power generator. Once power was cut to the Hall, the marshals were able to strategically break in and save the hostages, amongst whose ranks was yours truly! When asked why he hadn't thought of cutting the power before, Lieutenant Brickowski reportedly referred to, quote, "complexities and stuff" before rushing away. In a shocking related incident, billionaire industrialist David Freeman was led away in chains when it was revealed that it was equipment sold by his company on the black market that was used by the terrorists. This in conjunction with several multi-million dollar class-action lawsuits relating to faulty designs of his products. Quite a turn of events, isn't it? Well, here at Freeman Hall, all hostages are in stable condition and are accounted for, including American icon Charlton Heston. (extended riotous cheers from all present)
HESTON: (passing by, stops and bows) Thank you very much, everyone. May God bless you all.
(more cheers. HESTON leaves)
LUCY: One mystery remains, though. The terrorists who committed the act mysteriously vanished right before federal marshals burst in. A nation-wide manhunt has begun, but witness descriptions of the terrorists have proved sketchy at best, and WACT itself regretfully claims to have "lost" footage recorded early on at the outset of the incident. We may never again see those elusive figures. Still, as the sun sets upon a night of freedom for the hostages, this hostage will rest peacefully knowing that with everyone free and unharmed, justice has already been done. Thank you, and goodnight.
(LUCY and STEVE leave. two PARAMEDICS dressed in uniforms belonging to Freeman Industries, their backs still turned, are the only ones left behind now)
PARAMEDIC #2: How much time is left?
PARAMEDIC #1: My vital signs should no longer be being monitored...
(looking at his watch) Now.
PARAMEDIC #2: Then all is in readiness?
(a third PARAMEDIC, his back also turned, enters)
PARAMEDIC #3: I was able to acquire use of an ambulance. It waits outside.
PARAMEDIC #1: Then let us wander forth in search of new voices, comrades.
conceived, created and written
by Marc Heiden and Rory Leahy, December 1997.
any resemblance to real events or persons living or dead is entirely concidental.
this has been a mangojam '98 production, all rights repainted.